Barnett a ‘bludger’ on health & safety

UnionsWA has commented on the release today of new data on worker’s compensation showing other States have experienced significant falls in claims, while WA has not.  Today the Legislative Council has taken leave when work health and safety laws need to pass, there are revelations that one in seven Occupational Health and Safety Inspector positions in WA are vacant while workplace inspections are falling.

Meredith Hammat, Secretary UnionsWA said:

“Premier Barnett, there’s work to be done on work health and safety, stop being a bludger.

“The facts speak for themselves.

“The rates of serious work injury claims in WA have stagnated over the past three years, while Australia-wide these have fallen dramatically by 28%.

“Over the same period the number of proactive inspections of workplaces in WA has fallen from 7,266 in 2008-09 to 5,228 in 2011-12.

“Recent revelations show that one in seven Occupational Health and Safety inspector positions in WA are vacant.

“No wonder the rate of serious worker’s compensation claims in WA improved by a paltry by 7.2% while in NSW these have fallen by 32.5% and in Queensland by 20.5%.

“Today the Legislative Council in WA is having a day off because there’s not enough legislation.

“Here’s a suggestion, get on with harmonising occupational health and safety laws, clearly WA has fallen behind other States in improving health and safety.

“The focus for work health and safety needs to be on prevention.

“To prevent accidents inspector positions have to be filled so they can proactively investigate workplaces to check that safety standards are being met.

“Without inspections, the result for working people is unacceptable rates of disability and loss of livelihood.”

Further information

The ‘Comparative Performance Monitoring Report: Comparison of work health and safety and workers’ compensation schemes in Australia and New Zealand’ (Safe Work Australia, October 2013) is available here:

http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/about/publications/pages/comparative-performance-monitoring-report-15th-edition

Re serious injury claim rates see Indicator 2 – Incidence rates (claims per 1000 employees) and percentage improvement of serious compensated injury and musculoskeletal claims by jurisdiction (Chapter 1, page 3) re proactive site visits see Indicator 13 – Work health and safety compliance and enforcement activity by jurisdiction (Chapter 2, page 19)

Legislative Council Budget Estimates Hearing, Department of Commerce (see Page 17-18 regarding vacancies for OH & S Inspectors):

http://www.parliament.wa.gov.au/Parliament/commit.nsf/(Evidence+Lookup+by+Com+ID)/5A22351F5B2C2CDE48257BF30015B93D/$file/ef.ehw14.130926.trv.004.Dept+of+Commerce.pdf


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